The Tale of the Heroine Chapter 3: Penumbra
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- 5th day of the 8th week of the year -
Had not yet dawned on the orphanage.
The children here were getting up early from their beds. All of them, without exception, had to stand at 6th hour of the morning.
At that time, they would set up their beds and get ready for the day, pull buckets of water from the well, feed the animals, and help with the plantation around the place.
The childrens were mostly very young and they were only 16 years old.
Some of the older children were going to town to work. Others were in charge of the plantations, doing the heavy work that the smaller ones could not do. And there were a few who were going to school.
There were really very few who went to school. Only those that the orphanage owners noticed were above average. For the others, they only taught them to read and write simply and simply.
One of the reasons is financial. Schools had a very high cost, which already made it impossible to keep several children for a long time.
Besides that, they needed people to take care of the gardens, cleaning and people with fixed jobs. They could not leave them without working, otherwise money would be lacking..
They had a lot of maintenance expenses and, especially, to hire translators who were extremely expensive. Even with some helping with this, they could not do much, so they depended on that translation service.
Lucrecia was one of the childs who went to school. She was incredibly hardworking and very easy to learn anything.
But even so, she would wake up early and help with household chores before school hours.
So she wake up an hour earlier than the others every day, put on her clothes and down the stairs.
While she walking through the house, it was possible to note that the interior was made of wood from the trees of that region, which had a slightly gray appearance. It also had a faint scent of lumber, mixed in the cool breeze that came from the outside carrying a scent of wet grass.
There was no light beyond the moonlight, so the eyes had to get used to the darkness so it could move inside.
It was possible to use "light stones" to illuminate, but besides being a bit expensive, they were very weak and lasted little more than a week, so it would be expensive to have to reset every week.
But Lucrecia was not afraid to walk in the dark. Maybe it's because she was born in them and the darkness is part of her life. In addition, this is a routine that she repeats every day to 6 years.
The floor was icy and creaking in places. There was a clear discoloration in some parts, as a result of the movement in some rooms that was greater. The roof was tightly closed and the interior was dry during the rain and helped a lot in the winter.
The routine in that place was simple, and this girl only did a few things.
She wake up an hour earlier than usual and step outside. She did exercises before dawn and picked some fruits and vegetables for breakfast.
That way, she had some free time to study later before going to school. Even on days when she was not going to school she still followed this routine.
His clothes were usually plain cloth, without many colors. But today the clothes were very similar to the clothes of adventurers. Wearing cloth and leather clothes that were very stiff and difficult to move.
All her clothes were a little larger than her, because they were to last for many years and she was growing. And these clothes were borrowed from Miss. Almaria, one of the managers of the orphanage. She was an adventurer, but decided to leave this life to help the children, especially in the studies.
She gave Lucrecia these clothes because today would be the day of collection. On that day, which happened every four weeks, on the 5th day, children under the age of thirteen had to enter the cave to search for magic scrolls.
The reason for this pointless thing, sending children to a dangerous place, was because there was a strange and unknown magic at the entrance to the cave. This magic restricted the entrance of weapons. This triggered several mechanisms that contained the most varied types of bad status such as poisoning, illness, paralysis, freezing, acid, fire, ice, lightning, and many other deadly traps.
All these traps were activated by sensors that detect the aura produced by singularities or when detecting armed people. So that made the exploration absurdly dangerous.
People who had not yet awakened their singularities did not emanate aura. So, these children did not activate the traps.
This was discovered when a 12-year-old entered the cave in which they almost died to leave and she returned without any scratches.
As much as there were ways to disable the traps, these means would cost money and resources that the owners of that place didn't have. And perhaps they would lose the rights to the exploration of that cave by the time the existence of it became public.
Many of the orphanage owners were against such means of using children, but the needs were greater. In addition, after many tests they proved to be right and authorized the "collect".
Until that moment the empire didn't know that there was a dungeon inside that property. It was only registered as a property with a wooden house that housed orphaned children. There was no report on a cave with traps that should only be visited by adventurers.
The reason also why the translators they hired to translate the rolls did not mistrust was because some of the owners still worked as adventurers, so it would be normal for them to have these things brought from their missions.
So it was very advantageous for them to explore the caves and get several valuable magic scrolls without suffering almost no risk.
The children in the house were around 30, but only those over 8 and under 13 year went into the dungeon. This would be the last time Lucrecia would go there, since her birthday is the 9th week of the year.
And there are four more small children besides her.
「Ah, I do not like this outfit! What the hell. Why do we have to keep doing this?」
The clothes the girl wore were uncomfortable and she did not know why she had to do it every month.
「Those lazy people could go in our shoes.」
Lucrecia said this with obvious indignation, as she was doing work that should be aimed at adults. But that was because she did not know about the traps that were in that cave.
She had been tired for six years. But this would be the last time, so she was not so angry.
「Wuaaaaaa ~! I'm sleepy!」
All children wake up and get ready, organize their beds and go down to breakfast. This is the routine.
This is an ordinary day like any other. They all gather in the living room in the dining room and feed themselves for another day's work.
Today was no different, even being the day of the "collect". And just like on other days, Lucretia did not join them at breakfast, because she had already had coffee.
She took the time she had to study before school. And it was no different, even one day when she would not go to class.
She had already packed up all her equipment and was ready for the "collect" to begin at 7:30.
Those who gathered for coffee were the children and some of the owners of the Orphanage. Several of them were on mission at that time so they were not there.
The owners of the Orphanage that were there now were:
Sweet Caroline Almaria Halzer, called only Almaria, had a good heart, but inside was a person with peculiar tastes.
She had a very beautiful body, but she had a bit of a complex because of her lack of "volume". For this reason, even for Lucrecia, who was not yet grown, her clothes were large in height, but they tightened slightly on her bust and waist. This inevitably made Almaria a little irritated with herself.
The only thing she was very proud of was her beauty, which was quite unique. And in a way, her small numbers made her look very beautiful. She also had a half-closed personality and did not open easily.
She was a pretty mean kitten. You wanted to take it home, only to find that you will regret it bitterly.
Another one that was there was the Yalahar. He was known for being fast in combat, but on a day-to-day basis he was as slow as a slug. Looking at him was as exciting as watching a paint drying. He was disheveled and sleepy and always walked with a staff and his bag of items. Some thought he might be a sex maniac, but that was just rumor, I think...
Laxes and Fourlan were brothers and clearly were perverts. They were very competent at work, but no one had the courage to stay in the same space as them, so they drank coffee from the outside (looking at the girls and giggling). Their eyes gave a little chill.
There was only one other there that was the Sylmeria Yogathian, also known as Syl. She was no longer an Adventurer because she did not like to leave the house and go around with grown-ups.
She was very fond of the company of children, because they were true and liked or detested in truth and not because of her powers.
His Singularity was called <Charm>. She was somehow quite helpful, but even being powerful and convenient - since everyone would do everything she wanted just for asking - she hated her skill.
That's because she never knew if a person liked her for who she was or because she was affected by the hability. So the only ones who were not affected were the children.
For that very reason, Sylmeria always wore loose, plain clothes, like a simple housewife, and avoided exposing her skin. She also did not look at people in the eyes so they would not see her beautiful face and clear eyes. Little did she know, but this was mysteriously charming and cute.
Most people, including her, can control the activation of the ability, but the fear of it is so great that it does everything to avoid to the maximum that people are affected, almost as if it were an obsession. Practically no one from that place, as far as we know, saw her in bolder clothes.
Beyond them, there was still one more person in that orphanage. This person was not having breakfast because he had not yet awakened.
He was by far one of the most lazy and did not wake up early. After many attempts by his companions to try to make him stop sleeping so much, they gave up. It was not worth the effort because he did not wake up.
His name was Sigmund, in honor of the supposed hero who had defeated the Dragon Fafnir. This kid Sigmund, was one of the Adventurer companions who commanded the orphanage, despite being very young. He was said to be very powerful and his singularity, called <Scope>, gave him many abilities related to sight.
An interesting fact is that the day he used his too much skill and that left him with tired and swollen eyes. The white part of his eye turned slightly red, but he recovered soon after resting. But not before being bullied and given the nickname "Utirra," a fictional character from a story about people skilled in stealth, the famous ninjas, which was quite successful here.
Actually there is even a Utirra family, but that does not matter now.
Well, getting back to the subject, only a few of these children would be involved in the "collect". Most of them were too young or old enough for this. Then there was only Lucrecia and 4 other children along with her. The girl is the oldest, so responsible.
At this moment while she was in the room, she would be looking at an old, torn clothing that was tucked away, well folded in a wooden chest. This was the only memory left of her parents she had never seen.
Whenever she felt scared or alone, she wore those clothes. It made her feel as if her parents were there with her, protecting her in a way. It made her feel safe and away from her fears.
Lucrecia never showed weakness, either in front of the children or the owners of the orphanage. No one has ever seen her cry. Only here, in this room, hugging that old, torn robe, she showed her true feelings a little.
Everyone was gathered at the entrance to the cave, including the children who would not enter and the adults. Even Sigmund had already gotten up and was there.
The adventurers were wearing their battle clothes.
Sigmund wore a clothes that resembled a ranger, a mixture of colors, but mostly brown, because of the hardened leather parts. He wore black metal bracelets, a light-knit mail, over a white shirt. He had another suit over two colors. A red cloth tied around his waist, good-quality dark brown pants, and a pair of rather worn but apparently expensive boots. In addition to two swords, one was long and the other short on the left side, indicating that he is right-handed.
Yalahar wore a mage-like outfit, even though he was a warrior. His clothes were black and had parties wrapped in darkened purple cloths. All his equipment was apparently light and relatively expensive. If he changed the color of the robes to white and the stripes to red, people would think he was a member of the order of the killers.
Sylmeria wore clothes that made her look like elves. They were thin silk and tailored suits. They covered every part of her body and even disguised her advanced bust. That is, it was sensual, because it made you nervous. It was equipped with a long wooden bow and had a pair of daggers with a slight curvature.
Almaria was without her adventurous clothes because she had borrowed, but wore light green cloths and black cloth. Her clothes made her look like a man, except for her long hair, her curves, and quite feminine. Its weapons were Kunais, ninjas stars and a short sword of a hand.
Laxes wore a dress similar to that of an Imperial soldier, it was long and with some symbols and his weapon was a morning star and a rounded shield. The physical bearing was a little overpowered and he liked to show off. His acting was arrogant, but that was because he had full confidence in his abilities. And he had sexually dangerous eyes.
Fourlan's clothes were similar to Laxes's, but he wore gray, had silver mittens in both hands, and wore a bastard two-handed sword. His garments actually looked more like those of a priest or reverend in a light armor. His personality was cheerful and he liked to tell jokes and sing. And he had sexually dangerous eyes.
Unfortunately the nature of the two was not the best. The rotten look of both of them chilled even the young girls of the orphanage, so everyone lived on guard near the two.
After a brief remark, Lucrecia tells Sigmund.
Uh !!? I thought you were dead!
She said mockingly.
「... Ahn ... !? What the fuck you talking about?」
「The children cut off some of your hair and you did not even give a sign of life! I thought I was dead.」
He, desperate, put his hands in his hair, but it was all a lie. Then he responds with a tone of disapproval.
「My God, you're the devil, are not you? I should not say such hard things, so easily. You may end up accidentally committing suicide one day.」
「Oh, what I said was terrible? The only terrible thing here is this way of living.」
「Hey, do not tell me how to live, you shit little girl. You weird. I know very well what you do every morning when no one is awake... 」
The girl's face turned completely red. That is, he was playing dirty and exploring a weak spot. She closed her face, visibly irritated and said.
「Cof cof-! You stupid stalker! You're just a pervert! Stop slandering me, you lifeless shit.」
「Shut up! Hmph, like I like brats like you, totally flat.」
「Hey Hey! Stop it!」
Said the man standing outside.
Then he whispered to Sigmund.
「You must stop with these heresies Sigmund. You just do not yet see the majestic beauty of the body of a the fl... 」
He stopped talking instinctively, feeling a murderous intent in his direction. A cold spine shook his brain.
Lucrecia and other girls were looking at him with a face of disgust and desire to sweep their existence from the face of the earth.
Then one of them turned to face Almaria and said.
「Hey, use your telepathy and call the police, fast!」
「But of course.」
The man knelt quickly before Sigmund, Lucrecia, and Almaria and shouted.
「Hey Hey hey! Calm down! Just kidding. I've never done anything wrong. I swear!!! Swear!!!」
He moved in reverence and had tears in his eyes. He sobbed and had snot trickling from his nose. This was extremely depressing.
Lucrezia ignored him and continued talking to Sigmund.
Why are you here anyway?
「Protect you, of course. I'm a noble after all.」
He said it and made an elegant gesture.
「Hahahahah. Noble where? The only thing between you and a nobleman is the fact that you are supported by others.」
「You liar, I have work -...」
「So when are you going to pay me what you owe me?」
Almaria interrupted him.
Sigmund froze for a second. Then he looks at the woman with a smile on his face.
「Hey, what the hell, all of them are against me. This is persecution. How dare you question my honor. I'll pay you ...」
He approaches Almaria and says in her ear.
「... maybe you want me to pay you with my body.」
At the same moment, he skillfully lifted his hand and blocked a very sharp knife that was going in the direction of his right eye.
「How disgusting, never give me your disgusting body again.」
Sigmund, turned pale, but regained color and said angrily.
「What the fuck is that? You are crazy. Almost killed me. If I was not such a fuck, the children would witness something terrible.」
「If it had hit you, then it would be because you are nothing but useless.」
「Fuck, I do not even know if that's a compliment or not. Besides, that was not quite the answer you gave me last ... 」
She flashed a look that said, "Do you want me to try until I get it right?", Then he understood the message and fell silent.
He gives up Almaria who was in a bad mood and looks at Lucrecia again.
「So Lucrecia-chan is ready to become a complete woman now?」
「In the first place why are you calling me Lucrecia-chan? Have you turned Japanese now? Besides, why are you making an indecent proposal at a time like this?」
「Hey Hey. First, my father is Japanese. And second, the only one indecent here is you. I was just saying that you will receive your singularity, becoming a complete adult.」
Meanwhile, the other children watched all this crazy development between them without understanding anything.
It was time for the mission to start. Everyone was ready and prepared.
Among the adventurers there were Sylmeria outside, along with Almaria, tending the perimeter closest to the cave.
Below them were Laxes and Fourlan (the perverts) isolated, since nobody wanted to work with them.
And inside the cave were Sigmund and Yalahar.
The two underneath just monitored the property and the children. Worse than they were, they (supposedly) would not commit any crime in service.
Sylmeria and Almaria took care that no one entered the cave, and being on high, could see potential enemies from a great distance.
Another advantage at the top was the sheer precision of Sylmeria, who was almost a Legolas. She really looked like a forest fairy.
Almaria was already helping her with her incredible sharp vision and sharp senses. She had second best view, just below Sigmund and helped Sylmeria as an observer, wearing a monocle.
Even though Sylmeria was no longer an Adventurer, his accomplishments thanks to the sum of his abilities with those of Almaria and Sigmund are legendary, and many of his stories are even hard to believe. This legendary trio is infamous and has the title "The End".
Sigmund and Yalahar were inside the cave near the first traps. That was because Sigmund was the one with the best vision and could see far enough, even inside that dark cave. Already Yalahar was the fastest among all and, he is especially adept at getting rid of traps.
Everything was ready and the 5 kids walked in.
They were all wearing hard leather clothes that gave them good protection. But the most that has happened to date has been some superficial falls and scratches.
All the children followed a rope that ran from the entrance to the place where the rollers were. Lucrezia went ahead, leading and carrying a lamp.
Each child carried a little food, a canteen of water, herbal medicines, potions, hemostatics, and antibiotics. That plus bandages and more empty purses.
They did not carry weapons because the seal at the entrance was activated with them, so carrying weapons could be dangerous. In addition to the risk of children getting hurt while handling them.
The path to the chamber where the magic scrolls were was not so long - about 1000 meters - but it was a dark path, with uneven ground, there were forks specially made to confuse and was basically a maze. But the owners of the orphanage, during their entrances in the cave, left several marks on the ground and the rope indicating the correct way to the camera.
As such, children would not get lost on the path as long as they were slowly and carefully.
The interior of the cave was absurdly darkened. It was a frightening twilight where I could barely see a few meters ahead, even with the kerosene lamp. It seemed to be a haze that increased the density of darkness.
The place was cramped and extremely claustrophobic. The only light came from the lamp that could be fed by oil or kerosene, or by small fragments of light stones, which emitted a dim light that did not serve much in that place.
「Onee-san this place is very cold! I can not see anything. I am afraid.」
(Sigmund even infected these children with his way of talking)
The child grabbed hold of the bar of Lucrezia's shirt. She then placed her hand on the child's head and said quietly.
「No need to be afraid, we are all together. Your Onee-san will take care of you so stay close to me.」
Some of the children were terrified, but for Lucrecia it was just another day, so she did not appear to be afraid.
She followed the path that was already marked and quickly reached the place. It was a chamber made especially for storing magic scrolls and books, but there was no book there.
Everyone went in there and she put her lamp on a lamp hook and began to pick up the magic scrolls, which were hidden under a lot of dust and trash.
They did not stay long there, for it was still a dangerous place, so they only collected about 10 rolls each and immediately prepared to leave.
But at this time ...
The temperature dropped.
Lucrecia did not know what it was, but her heart seemed to have stopped.
Suddenly, he hit again and she felt each beat was like a punch in the chest.
What was that? She knew it was not good.
This sensation came from what was in front of him, through a passage that had not yet entered today. Inside there was only one room with a huge curtain covering something. But there was nothing more to be inside.
But there was something there now, definitely.
It was a mysterious silhouette of something that looked directly into her eyes and seemed to smile.
Lucrecia knew instantly what she should do.
She threw her things to the floor, grabbed the children's hands and ran .........
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